Re: Google = c-@-n-c-e-r
You're obviously entitled to your opinion and, as you point out, other search engines, browsers etc are available. Speaking for myself, I'm happy to use Google search, Docs and Chrome for the benefits of simple synchronisation between my various PCs, phones and tablets. If I'm doing anything I consider particularly sensitive, I use something else, such as DDG, encrypted mail and/or documents. I'm personally happy to sacrifice a little privacy for compensating benefits. If the postal service offered free delivery of Christmas/birthday cards in exchange for recording the metadata (or even the contents), that's a sacrifice I'd be happy to make.
There's a valid point that I'm probably a bit more clued up than the average user of Google services, who is probably completely oblivious that all this is going on and is just happy to grab 'free stuff'. I'm not sure there's a complete answer to that, though better education and information would help.